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3D printing files data bank?


Doctor's Pontiac
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All of us have at some point or another been unable to find a part for our old cars. The growing field of 3D printing seems to be the answer. The major difficulty is to create a 3D computer file. Once it is done, it can be used over and over again to fabricate the part at a very reasonable cost. It will be very helpful if any organization, for instance AACA, can start compiling a data bank of files. Seems especially fit for interior parts, plastics, trim, and the like.

 

The following is the first part I am fabricating. It is a plastic trim that is used on the door of my 41 Oldsmobile. I searched for several months for a replacement and they are not to be found, except in much worse condition than mine and with the entire garnish molding that I don't need.

 

These are ivory colored plastic trim pieces. I spent exactly 2 hours at my local Public Library with a staff member creating the file by taking careful measurements with his caliper. Of course I provided the damaged original part which is required to do this job and I was adding input when needed. He created a file with the extension .stl and used a printer fed with a PLA plastic filament (I learned all these things just now by seeing him do the work). He printed a  sample that needs minor touch ups to be perfect (sanding and painting the correct color). It looks very good and once I can have those minor adjustments completed, it will be a perfect piece. The cost was $1.5 (one dollar and 50 cents) for the materials only. The work is performed by city employees and has an educational purpose to apply new technologies. The best use of tax dollars I have seen in a long time !!!

 

I will be happy to share the file with anyone interested for his own restoration.

 

510128304_Windowtrim3D-1.jpg.729775898236e4b49012bdcf811d6cc9.jpg

Driver's door garnish molding with the ivory trim. The original is all cracked, warped and deformed after 80 years. The new one is shown ready to test fitness

 

 

 

61512265_Windowtrim3D-2.jpg.e66a62300171214eacb521ee17171ab8.jpg

It fits perfectly well. The grooves need to be a bit deeper, needs sanding and matching the color with the other pieces

 

 

320263568_Windowtrim3D-3.jpg.09bc072eaf66a9e96d3a885d62fdbb88.jpg

The 3 rounded tabs on the back of the trim that fit into the metal holes will be added and then will print the final sample. 

 

I know there are metal 3D printers also for mechanical parts. I wish there were a collection of files we can have available for these types of parts. Even for a fee, it will be worth! 

 

 

 

 

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The original hood ornament emblem insert on my car was some sort of plastic, and is well known for falling out or disintegrating over time. I 3D printed a new one using PLA and painted it, it's been about a year now and it still looks good! I agree some kind of central repository for 3D printed parts would be great!

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I am waiting for the day when Marque specific clubs would have 3D printer files in their libraries accessible to their members.

It would be a great way to increase membership as you would need to be a dues paying member to download the files.

 

It will be a great way to help preserve these rolling pieces of history. 

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While making files available for all members of a club is a great idea, there is just one problem. The guy who paid to do the scanning/drawling, engineering and finish machine instructions.........could have laid out a bunch of money to get the first unit done. I think it’s more likely the guy will advertise to sell the parts using an on demand inventory. Pre pay and print. Having just worked with Gary A and his very generous time and assistance we made some patterns, and did some casting. Two parts were 3D printed. Everything came out great, but many to most parts don’t lend themselves to 3D printing. As time goes by, costs associated with it will continue to drop. Ten years ago we looked at 3D pattern making......it was a total wast of time, money, and effort. Today, it’s a fantastic option for many items, and at a realistic cost. There is no free lunch. Some of the small items were cheaper to 3D print than cast.......fast and easy. So, there is no one particular correct answer. The Brush guys chipped in and did entire block castings. They 3D print the patterns and cores. They also designed the block to be machined by CNC when the castings were done. It was a fantastic project, and they can order engine blocks of the single cylinder block on demand. The first one cost around 75k somI am told. Cost averaging them out to twenty units got the price down to 14k.  With all in costs like the above, only very small items would be available for no charge.

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Here are the parts that got made for Ed.  The compressor bodies to replicate a circa 1915-17 tire pump air compressor were done by investment casting bronze from 3D printed PLA patterns at a RI art foundry, weigh in at 3 lbs each.  Quite a few hours went into making the CAD drawings and each pattern took about 30 hours to print.  The compressor bodies still need extensive machining plus clean-up of the "warts" from air bubbles in the plaster investment.  The actuator arms and small domes were done by direct-to-metal 3D printing from stainless steel sintered powder infused with bronze.  The arms just need the holes drilled/reamed to size, the domes needed nothing; arms and domes were tumble-polished at the printing company, i.materialise.com. 

 

It's very unlikely that anyone else in this universe will come looking for more of those parts, but the files exist.

 

1014219008_compressorcastings1.jpg.37654c6262eae4c5022c1737e9069fd1.jpg

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Gary, I will be happy to be the agent advertising and handling all additional sales of the files for a five percent commission.  Unfortunately even at one dollar for each file copy, I think future sales for the next 300 years is projected at zero dollars in sales.......under the best case scenario. Looks like neither one of us will retire from the cash flow generated on this project. 

 

If it wasn't that Gary was a true car guy, and interested in helping other people, this project would have NEVER been done. Thanks to him, four cars missing an important component under the hood will now be back to the way they should be. I owe him more than I can say..............

 

THANKS GARY!

 

 

PS- I actually looked into trying to get set up to do this myself, so in my old age I could have a desk job that offered a small income and keeps me in the hobby. Software and plastic printer are reasonably affordable. I have 6 years of drawing back in the 70's and 80's when done by hand, and am skilled above average for the era when I was learning.......it was at the very end of hand drawing. I looked into classes to attend at the local community college..........figure six to eight classes to get a good understanding of the process. Add in all of that....the skill set that is missing from my stand point........engineering background, manufacturing process, hell......you need a lifetime of real engineering hands on experience to get the thing right.........I simply don't have the skill set to be an effective and competent operator of the technology. That won't stop a bunch of internet experts trying to sell their services at inflated rates for sub standard work. If you need to do projects like this you need professionals like Gary to get it right. They are hard to find at any price. So the "miracle" of scanning, printing, and cad/cam manufacturing small batch and prototypes is still very far off in the future where regular car guys will take advantage of it. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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36 minutes ago, Gary_Ash said:

Fortunately, I'm already retired and apparently have too much time on my hands - but don't tell my wife since she has a long honey-do list.

 

 

If you keep making me parts, I'm going to start calling you 'Honey" also!

 

 

 

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  • 8 months later...

If we can't put together a data bank of models with AACA resources, at least we could work on a database of what models are known to be available and where to find them.

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On 11/9/2021 at 10:51 AM, Gary_Ash said:

Here are the parts that got made for Ed.  The compressor bodies to replicate a circa 1915-17 tire pump air compressor were done by investment casting bronze from 3D printed PLA patterns at a RI art foundry, weigh in at 3 lbs each.  Quite a few hours went into making the CAD drawings and each pattern took about 30 hours to print.  The compressor bodies still need extensive machining plus clean-up of the "warts" from air bubbles in the plaster investment.  The actuator arms and small domes were done by direct-to-metal 3D printing from stainless steel sintered powder infused with bronze.  The arms just need the holes drilled/reamed to size, the domes needed nothing; arms and domes were tumble-polished at the printing company, i.materialise.com. 

 

It's very unlikely that anyone else in this universe will come looking for more of those parts, but the files exist.

 

1014219008_compressorcastings1.jpg.37654c6262eae4c5022c1737e9069fd1.jpg

Very nice work but you forgot the most interesting question that no one ever actually seems to answer.  What did it cost including all engineering, scanning and printing ?  

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Sometimes, this kind of work gets done “pro bono”, if only because no private car owner could afford my industrial consulting rates. I didn’t use a scanner, but carefully measured the original part. I have high-end CAD software for my consulting work, so didn’t have to spend money for design software. The 3D printer I bought for my own projects several years ago, cost only $179. I used perhaps $10-15 worth of PLA filament to print the patterns, so that’s the cash outlay. 
 

In the end, it will cost Ed an opportunity for me to drive the White next time I’m in Florida - and a few shots of his Crown Royal. 

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I have been using TurboCAD Pro Platinum for a number of years.  The current price is $1500.  I usually upgrade to a new version about every three years.  With TurboCAD Pro, you can draw almost anything and produce output files in many formats, including STL, OBJ, and other 3D files.

https://www.turbocad.com/turbocad-windows-2022/turbocad-platinum.html

 

On a more limited budget, TurboCAD 2022 Deluxe for $249 can do many good things in 2D and 3D.

 

Here's an example of the gas filler assembly for my Indy car.  I drew the part in TurboCAD Pro, exported an STL file, processed the STL file in Ultimaker CURA ("slicing" software) to get a GCODE file (at 2% oversize to allow for casting shrinkage) which was loaded into my Creality Ender 3 3D printer.  I think the print time was 36-40 hours.  I sent the print made from PLA filament to the local bronze art foundry where they used a lost wax process, in this case "lost PLA", to cast the part.  The casting was sent to D&S chrome platers for polishing and plating.  Here is a 2D view, a 3D rendering of the part in "chrome" from the CAD software, a photo of a white PLA pattern with the bronze casting, and the final chrome-plated part.

 

71470267_gascapbody3taperdimensions.jpg.bb806651485769931f8bfd5b12e14416.jpg

 

A "2D" view of the gas filler body from TurboCAD Pro, dimensions in millimeters.

 

 

1744113208_gascapbody3taperchrome.jpg.d546debaa47e0066c4f9b6da56c403d9.jpg

A 3D rendering from TurboCAD Pro of the gas filler body with the material specified as "chrome".

 

1686908300_gascapcast.jpg.05d472bc8a11e1372f118f50bcab8bcd.jpg 

A white PLA plastic 3D print of the gas filler assembly shown with the rough bronze casting.

 

1150902978_gascapplatedopen.jpg.4b912085141252a518fa45d5bb610276.jpg

The completed gas filler assembly after chrome plating, shown with a 3D printed model of my car from a very large CAD file.

The CAD file for the complete car was created for me by HUM3D using many of my CAD files of various parts and about 200 

photos of the real Indy cars.  The process of "lofting" the aluminum body was beyond my knowledge level, even though my CAD

program is capable of doing it.  I had to pay HUM3D about $700 to create the CAD model, but they did a great job and included 

lots of details, right down to the heads of the 400 rivets in the skin.

 

1580565310_StudebakerIndy25-3(Medium).PNG.eca2957678074f549db8b818d5ce4216.PNGA 3D rendering from TurboCAD Pro of the CAD model created by HUM3D for me.  With some work, it's possible to get photo-realistic 

renderings from CAD models, including graphics applied to curved surfaces.  You need a powerful PC to produce these views in a

few minutes of rendering time.

 

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On 7/20/2022 at 10:55 AM, Restorer32 said:

Very nice work but you forgot the most interesting question that no one ever actually seems to answer.  What did it cost including all engineering, scanning and printing ?  

That is a big open question. It depends so much on the complexity of the project, the work flow and expected end result. For instance, are the 3D printing parts to be used as is (i.e. direct from the printer to the car)? Are you printing patterns for use in the lost PLA casting process as Gary has illustrated. Are you 3D printing patterns to be used in tradition sand casting methods? Are you 3D metal printing a part that will than need to be machined?

 

Can you do the modeling and design yourself or do you need to pay someone? How much can you do versus contracting it out? 

 

That is why its so difficult to talk about cost.

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  • 5 months later...

I am currently in the process of getting throttle and spark levers scanned to suit Model R Hupps. So far, the scanning and "reverse engineering portion is running at around A$400.00 and its not quite there yet. There is one cost for 3d printing in metal but another cost if it needs to be mapped for CNC machining. I am waiting on the company to resume after the holiday break. IF I proceed and get some made then the final cost to someone needing them would realistically need to include a number to offset some of my initial outlay and I would imagine at a modest percentage it would be some time before I hit the break-even point. Once the modelling effectively owed me nothing then I would gladly share it on any data base "for the greater good"

I have gone down the path of drawing up AutoCAD 2d models for flatware so it can be laser cut and bent to suit, (kick plates, cathedral plates, bodywork and some mechanical items). I shared these on the Facebook page of the relevant club, and they were removed as they didn't want to share info with people who were not actual financial members - that sort of defeated my intent of throwing them into the public domain - I would hate to see the same sort of thing occurring should a database be set up and someone (or a group) profiting on another's groundwork.

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I have made over 95 molds for 1927-1931 Cadillac parts. I pour wax and most then go to bronze investment casting foundries but some to sand casting foundries. Between the shrinkage of the wax, then the bronze the finished parts lose about 3.25%. That’s not a problem on smaller less intricate parts like door handles or windscreen lifting gears but on parts like gauge surrounds, light stanchions or light switch bases it becomes a problem. Being in a college town with 5 colleges, one would think it would be easy to find an engineering student who would enjoy the challenge of scanning and plastic printing a part 3.25% larger to enable a larger mold. After 5 years of inquiries, I finally found a band musician that graduated from engineering school who did this for me. The cost was $200 for the enlarged pattern of a part the size of a hardball. Then there is the cost of the mold making material and wax plus my time making the mold. Add to that the casting and chroming cost not to mention my time to do the final machining before chroming and of course there is the numerous shipping costs going to and from shops. 
 So even with the help of 3D printing, parts for our old cars aren’t cheap. It would be great if we had the financial comfort of someone like Jay Leno and could afford a 3D metal printer but until I get my own TV host job, I’ll keep making parts the way I’ve done it for 25 years!

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